OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – It might not seem like a long time, even as far as city history goes, that famous people stopped in for a night or two at what was the Ramada Inn beginning in 1967. Elvis Presley used to stay in a corner room on the top floor.
The development has always been known as the Lincoln Plaza complex of offices, trade centers, hotel rooms and night clubs.
Developer Cindy Murillo of Gardener Tannenbaum Holdings knows this history better than most.
She was part of the team that bought this 24 acre complex, long abandoned and neglected, but with just enough history to get it onto the National Register of Historic Places.
“This is kind of a bridge to those old days,” suggests a visitor to the construction site.
“It is,” smiles Murillo. “A lot of politics happened in this facility. Maybe some we don’t want to talk about.”
“A lot of deals?” her visitor says with a laugh.
“A lot of deals. Absolutely.”
They made the financing work.
The economy picked up along with the Innovation and Health Sciences districts growing.
Thousands of people suddenly working nearby needed a place to live, so, the old Plaza is about to become The Presley, more than 300 multi-family apartments.
The key to getting historic status opened up funding for the Plaza, but that meant developers had to keep a lot of the original architectural elements, the shape of the pool, the interior lobby, even the tint on the windows.
“We had to replace the rose-colored glass,” Cindy points out. “Rose-colored lenses.”
Murillo says they put most of the work into turning the hotel rooms into larger apartments.
What does the marketplace want, we ask?
Murillo answers with hardwood floors, movie rooms, coffee bars, big pool decks, gyms and co-work spaces.
The Presley is another in a long line of new ideas for the old Plaza, busy now for the first time in decades.
Soon to be ready for move in and moving on.
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